Food Patriots is the food movie for people who aren’t in to food movies. It takes a simple, non-preachy approach to the topic at hand; which is ultimately eating better, healthier food.
The documentary centers on Jeff and Jennifer Spitz and their two sons, Sam and A.J. A few years ago, Sam got sick after eating contaminated chicken. What should have been an easily-treated case of food poisoning was actually an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection that caused the football player to lose an alarming 30 pounds in 4 weeks.
After the health scare with their son, Jennifer knew the family had to make a change. Food Patriots follows the family as they make small, meaningful changes to their eating and shopping habits, finding plenty of other Food Patriots along the way.
It’s no secret: it can often take a lot of money to eat healthy. Anyone who has tried to shop at premium grocers or attempted to buy mostly organic produce can understand this. It can leave you questioning how low-income families can do it! You may not believe it, but the best place to go just may be your local farmers market.
Recently, Dr. Richard Besser hosted a conversation on G+ as a part of the TED-MED series on childhood obesity. Featured in this panel was Don Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity in the City of Philadelphia. When asked how to combat the issue of African American and Latino children being exposed to the highest level of unhealthy foods and beverages, he suggested policy change to allow public benefits (like food stamps) to be accepted at farmers markets.
Well, Mr. Health Commissioner, have we got good news for you: They already do!
We have noticed a growing trend in our local farmers markets throughout the country accepting SNAP (or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) just like regular cash. Gone are the days where affordability and accessibility of fresh produce isn’t possible on food stamps. Shopping at your local farmers market is not only better for the environment, but the nutritional quality is higher, and your money can literally go further.
Wholesome Wave Georgia features more than 20 farmers markets that accept SNAP throughout the state, but Forsyth Farmers Market in Savannah, has taken it to another level. They literally give you twice the bang for your buck. This market will match your SNAP dollars thanks to a grant from Wholesome Wave Georgia. Accepting SNAP since 2009, they developed this partnership to ensure that the highest quality produce was perfectly attainable no matter your resources. And is it working?
“Last year, we had the top redemption rates for a single market in the state of Georgia,” says Forsyth Farmers Market co-founder and coordinator Teri Schell.
But if you’re not in the Savannah area, fear not. There are farmers markets that accept SNAP in all 50 States. We found 50 with the best deals!
Alabama: On Double Days, Homegrown Alabama will match dollar-for-dollar up to $25.
Alaska: Alaska Farmers Market Association says to check that the booth you shop at accepts them, too!
Arizona: Hosts a whole list of SNAP-specific gardens.
Quick! What are the standards for organic foods? Can a food be some combination of natural, organic and local? According to research done by Sullivan Higdon and Sink and produced in “A Fresh Look at Organic and Local,” Sullivan Higdon & Sink FoodThink, 2012, if you aren’t sure about the answer to those questions, you’re in good company. Only about 44 percent of consumers say they understand the requirements for a food to be considered organic.
If you’re like me, you want your food to be as fresh and local as possible. It’s good for the local farmers, smaller growers tend to take more care and grow higher quality products, and the closer it was grown, the better it typically tastes as it doesn’t spend time withering in travel. The trouble is, for most of us, this requires locating semi-obscure farmer’s markets and getting to them at their less-than-convenient hours.
What if you could just get fresh, local, and delicious produce at a grocery store? Or better yet, what if the produce was grown right there, in the grocery store? Guys, it’s happening! And we need to spread the word so it can happen all over the country.
Are you like me? Do you see all of the farmers markets during the summer and just stare in wonder? I drive by, crane my neck, but continue on. I’ve even said I want to go to one, but I never do. Or if I happen upon one, I tend to feel lost as to what to buy or how much or whose product is better.
Yes, I’m farmers market phobic. I want to use them, I believe local is the best way to shop, but I’ve always been full of excuses not to. Well, this summer I decided ‘no more.’ I was ready to get past my reservations and earn my farmers market newbie badge. And I decided I was going to go to a market blind and manage to find all of the ingredients for that night’s dinner, even if I had to ask questions.
So I rolled into the nearest market to my house on a recent weekday morning. There were plenty of tents to choose from so I started at one end and got quite an education as I weaved my way through the various stands. (more…)